History of the Arita International Ceramics Competition

The beginning of the "Arita International Ceramics Competition" can be traced back to the "Ceramics Fair" held in Keiun Temple in Arita in 1896 at the invitation of Eizaemon Fukagawa, the then 9th president of Koransha Co., Ltd., Teiichi Tashiro, then president of the Arita Ceramics Partnership Company, and others as a countermeasure against the depression after the Sino-Japanese War. At that time, Japan was suffering from depression after the Sino-Japanese War. Many potters were self-conceited about the name of Arita Ceramics and did not engage in the quality improvement. Eizaemon Fukagawa and Tei’ichi Tashiro were feeling sad about this and came up to start the “Ceramics Fair” in order to increase the knowledge and competition of techniques. This first Ceramics Fair was held from March 1 to 5 1896 and featured 141 exhibitors and 784 exhibits.

The fair was then held as an annual event thereafter, however the sudden outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War (1904) made holding the fair impossible and it was suspended. The fair was restarted the following year at the strong insistence of ceramics industry related individuals and the townspeople until the venue was changed from Keiun Temple to the Arita Product Museum in 1911.

▲The exterior of the Arita Product Museum

▲ At the certificate awarding ceremony of the Ceramics Fair

However, another war broke out and there was no choice but to suspend the fair for a second time. As a result the fair was suspended for 6 years this time (1942-1947) but resumed again in 1948, then in 1967 the name was changed to the "Saga Prefecture Ceramics Exhibition" and then changed again in 1969 to the "Kyushu Yamaguchi Ceramics Exhibition". Also the venue was changed to the Arita Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Over the course of the 100 years of history of the Ceramics Exhibition, important intangible cultural heritage holders Manji Inoue, the late Hiroshi Nakashima and Zenzō Fukushima won awards during their youth, and the event has served as a gateway for many young ceramic artists.

Since 2016 the event has invited ceramics works from throughout Japan in order to promote greater technical exchanges as well as improvement of quality and design, the continuation of traditional arts and development of industrial growth.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the 117th (2020) International Ceramics Competition had to be postponed to the following year.

113th Exhibition – renaming into “Arita International Ceramics Competition”

From the year 2016, where Arita is greeting the 400th anniversary of porcelain, as a ceramic fair that shall play a part in leading the ceramics industry to a renaissance, the title was changed into “Arita International Ceramics Competition”. This renaming made it possible to receive worldwide applications. This international ceramics competition is being carried out in order to improve technique and knowledge as well as to discover new talents.

The ceramics as an industry is falling on hard times in these days. In order to realize the next 100 years for the ceramics industry, in these hard times that the industry is presently undergoing, it must return to the original purpose of the times when the “Ceramics Fair” began and aim at further exchange of technique, quality enhancement and design improvement. It also needs to aim at the succession of traditional crafts and industrial development.


▲Exhibition venue of the Art Crafts and Object Division (Kyushu Ceramics Museum)


Exhibition venue of the Industrial Ceramic Art Division (Saga Prefecture Ceramic Manufacturers Cooperative)

Regarding the transfer of the venue

From 2018, the exhibition venue of the Industrial Ceramic Arts Division for the Arita International Ceramics Competition (old name: Kyushu-Yamaguchi Ceramics Competition) has transferred to the Saga Prefecture Ceramic Manufacturers Cooperative due to the transfer of the Arita Chamber of Commerce and Industry. From 1969 for about 50 years, the Arita Chamber of Commerce and Industry was used as the venue. We are thankful to the old building of the Arita Chamber of Commerce and Industry for that many applicants have exhibited their works and numerous examinations have been carried out there until now.


新たな歴史へ 表彰式会場

▲Venue of the award ceremony (Kyushu Ceramics Museum)


○Contact Details

 Division for Commerce, Industry & Tourism

 Arita International Ceramics Competition Executive Office

 Office address: 2202 Tachibe-otsu, Arita-cho, Nishimatsuura-gun, 849-4192 Saga-ken 

 Tel: 0081-955-46-2500  E-mail: syoko@town.arita.lg.jp




商工観光課 有田国際陶磁展事務局
〒849-4192 佐賀県西松浦郡有田町立部乙2202番地
電話:0955-46-2500 ファックス:0955-46-2100